Parenting Porkies

motherAt this stage in pregnancy, I’m thinking less of perfect parenting than damage limitation. I keep telling Glen, he’s got to be normal enough for us both. Nonetheless, I’ve been doing a bit of market research on the parenting business – and I’m struck by how fraught with guilt it can easily become.

Breast-feeding (Because “Mother Nature” knows best and anything else is short-changing your child) versus Bottle (Because Mummy needs flexibility and Daddy must pull his weight too)

Disposable nappies versus The Environment.

Full-time Nursery Care (Because Mum’s career is vital too) or Staying At Home (Because you LOVE Your Child).

Routine or Freestyle.

Daddy Day Care or Mummy Dearest.

Frankly, I haven’t a clue. But it strikes me that without the gospel, parenting becomes an overwhelming arena for guilt and shame. The child-rearing options available to you are never just options, they come down from on high, written in tablets of stone. We’ve barely begun but it feels like the law abounds and condemnation is always just around the corner.

It should be obvious that I’m new to all this but here’s what I’m thinking… Surely, as with friendship and relationships and work and free time and life …you take it as it comes and you do your georgey best and you pray and you make mistakes and actually, that’s ok?

This at least, is what I’m banking on.  (That and an amazing singing sheep that some friends gave us which replicates womb noises. No joke).

It’s hard enough taking responsibility for yourself, let alone someone else.  And of course you’re gonna screw it up. But hopefully you – and your kids – learn from your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They learn not to be scared of negative emotions. They learn that Mum makes mistakes, but she can apologise to God and He forgives her and helps her to start again.  They learn that their parents aren’t perfect – but their heavenly Father is.  They learn the difference between perfect and good enough; between winning and trying; between looking beautiful and being beautiful.  They learn that every day is a gift of grace. And as they learn, their parents learn too.


11 thoughts on “Parenting Porkies

  1. um yes – you’ve got it completely right – the rest? Well, I’m fully of the opiinon that most parenting mags need to be burnt…

  2. Yeah, something like that. I’m nearly 4 months into parenthood and so far I’ve learned no-one knows anything, babies don’t read the books, but it’ll probably all be fine, even if it often doesn’t look fine because hormones are horrible distorting mirrors sometimes.
    Actually, the hardest thing so far is the effect on my relationship with my husband. Mini-PWF easily becomes the centre of my world and I then push him out or make decisions without him and then we fight. :(

  3. yep. Nailed it. Sadly, it seems to be the one area of life where everyone will always tell you how they differ from what you’re doing. And guess what? I mostly reckon I’ve got it right too! and God is really showing me at the moment that everything about my children depends on his grace to them, and not my brilliant interpretations of his word, and my own innate brilliance as a parent. I am taking tiny steps in turning everything to him, repenting for my anger, impatience, laziness in parenting. And trying to show them how wonderful he is by reading his word to them and praying with them. What else can we do? I don’t think I was very coherent. But, thank you for this post. x

  4. This is very coherent – and very wise! Despite having no experience and no training, I too reckon I’m right. Bonkers…

  5. Absolutely right Emma. Everyone has an opinion and don’t read the books or the blogs or whatever, they all contradict each other. I joined a parenting forum on facebook and had to leave as it wasn’t helping my Godliness or parenting-either I was reading the car-crash confessions and feeling smug or I was discovering new things to obsess or worry about-shoes! Who knew- I was naively assuming I’d just take the sprog to Clarks when the time came but no I could buy hand made by nepali peasants barefoot shoes etc etc and if I didn’t the buy right sort then I was hobbling the child for LIFE!
    This I think is further proof of our desire to let us be in control not God. If I do everything right then the baby will turn out ok, but this is madness. Better to trust to God who loves children and doesn’t want to let any of his little ones stumble. So I think in summary muddling through doing what suits you and your family best and trusting God one day a time for the grace to do so when sleep deprived etc etc.

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